Antiviral activity

Infection by certain human papilloma virus (HPV) types in female genital has been associated with cervical cancer, hence HPV prevention has received great attention from scientific studies (Lehtinen and Dillner, 2002). The first generation of HPV vaccine is currently available on the market to prevent HPV infection (Paczos et al., 2010). However, high cost of vaccine has been a cause for concern and will be too expensive for use in the developing world. Therefore, the search for potential anti-HPV candidates containing higher inhibitory activity and fewer prices has rise great interest in pharmaceutical industries. In this regard, natural bioactive compounds and their derivatives are potential source for the development of functional foods as new generation anti-HPV therapeutics which is more effective, less side effects, and less expensive.

A large number of marine algae contain significant quantities of complex structural sulfated polysaccharides which have been demonstrated as potent inhibitors of wide variety of viruses, such as HPV (Campo et al., 2009; Pujol et al., 2007; Witvrouw and De Clercq, 1997). Carrageenan, a sulfated polysaccharides of d-galactose and 3,6-anhydro-d-galactose extracted from the Rhodophyceae, has been used in food products for centuries. Recently, carrageenan has been shown to bear anti-HPV activity in vitro (Campo et al., 2009). Buck et al. noted that carrageenan, particularly t-carrageenan, inhibits HPV three orders magnitude more potent than heparin, a highly effective model for HPV inhibitor (Buck et al., 2006). Carrageenan acts primarily by preventing the binding of HPV virions to cells and blocks HPV infection through a second, postattachment heparin sulfate-independent effect. Those mechanism is consistent by the fact that carrageenan resembles heparin sulfate, which is known as HPV-cell attachment factor. Further, some of milk-based products which contain carrageenan block HPV infectivity in vitro, even when diluted million-fold (Buck et al., 2006). In another study, carrageenan has been reported to inhibit genital transmission of HPV in female mouse model of cervicova-ginal (Roberts et al., 2007; Schiller and Davies, 2004). In addition, carra-geenan was able to generate antigen-specific immune responses and antitumor effects in female (C57BL/6) mice vaccinated with HPV-16 E7 peptide vaccine (Zhang et al., 2010).

Based on these findings, carrageenan can be an alternative source of novel therapeutic candidate for HPV by being a part of food additives. There are numerous advantages of carrageenan over other classes of antiviral agents, such as relatively low production costs, broad spectrum of antiviral properties, low cytotoxicity, safety, wide acceptability, and novel modes of action, suggesting that carrageenan are promising candidates in the near future. However, further studies with clinical trials are needed for their anti-HPV activity in female subject.

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